This Sunday we will participate in Orphan Sunday. Orphan Sunday is an opportunity to join in with churches all over the world in learning about God's heart for the fatherless. This week we will thank God for the ways He is using our church and study Psalm 68:1-10. God has a plan to care for orphaned and vulnerable children and his plan involves us!
The Apostle James teaches us that genuine faith in Christ leads to personal transformation and action. After we come to faith in Christ, we grow in our love and concern for others, particularly, those who are weak, vulnerable and oppressed. Of specific concern to God is the well being and care of orphans and widows. Hence, the Lord calls the church, his people, to rise up and care for them.
This is our twelfth and final sermon in our series on prayer. We are wrapping up our series by examining the concluding exhortations in James chapter 5. James teaches us that regardless of our circumstance, the proper response is prayer. We should take every concern to our Sovereign Lord. James brings specific attention to those who are suffering or sick. Prayer is the prescribed antidote to our suffering and sickness. Through prayer and petition we receive from God the strength, stamina and healing- physical and spiritual- that we need.
We all go through trying times when it doesn’t seem that God is near, or that he is not answering our prayers. More often than not, we find in hindsight that God was there all along - comforting us, guiding us and protecting us. We were just unable to see it because of the circumstances we were in. But are there times when God is actually not answering us? Times when our relationship with God is so broken that we are not communicating? Sadly, yes. Today, we are going to look at two portions of Scripture where we are told that God is not answering us, and the reasons why. The good news is this is not a death sentence! God desires a reconciled relationship with us when our actions have damaged that relationship, and He has provided a way back.
Each year, at the beginning of a new year, we set our focus upon growing in our individual and corporate prayer lives. None of us looks back at 2013 satisfied with our prayer life. We all know we need to pray more, in every circumstance. This morning we learn from James chapter 5, different kinds of prayer.